Finished! Denim wide leg pants plus Pin Up Sweater - a most fun outfit.
Are you on the Sew Liberated mailing list? She’s got some wise thoughts, has Meg. Recently she send out some such thoughts on pants, body image and weight fluctuation and one of her pearls of wisdom was that one should have a great, comfortable, well fitting pair of pants in your current size, one size up, and one size down. I’ve spent the last 12 months waiting for the rest of my baby weight to shift, and it’s been slow going. A combination of broken sleep, illness, general mama exhaustion and a reluctance to significantly cut calories in case it affects my (dwindling) milk supply has been my excuse/reason (depending on my state of mind). Recently I came to the conclusion that I (a) didn’t want to buy any more RTW pants, (b) I didn’t want to make anymore elastic waist pants for a while. I decided some wide leg pants would be easier to fit than fitted leg and pondered the options out there. The Persephones look fun for sure, but I don’t like the gaping / pulling that I see across many of the flies and I felt I needed a pattern with a fail safe zip fly draft so that I could practice on and therefore have the confidence to perhaps tweak some future Persephones. I’ll admit that I own the Landers, the Persephones, and the Dawn jeans patterns, but I elected to go with the free Peppermint magazine Wide Leg Pants pattern, drafted by Emily from In the Folds. It ticked many of my boxes - zip fly, full length pocket pieces incorporated into the fly (a bit like a pocket stay - helps keep the tummy tucked in and prevents the waistband stretching out with wear), side seams and darts for fitting tweaks and a curved waistband. And of course it comes with an A0 printing option.
I toiled my first version in calico (muslin if you’re in the USA) cut to shorts length, in a size E, which was foolish. My measurements put me 100% in size F. I don’t know what I was thinking. I added extra seam allowance to the side seams and needed all that extra room. They were way too tight/short in the front crotch. But I could at least see that the waistband would fit beautifully, the rear darts would be a touch long and that I’d probably need (unsurprisingly) a small swayback adjustment.
So size F it was. I still took precautions and added an extra 1cm to the side seams, plus an extra 5mm length to both the front and back crotch lengths at the inseam. Turns out I didn’t need the extra wiggle room of the side seam but the extra crotch length was definitely worthwhile. I shortened the darts by 1cm, made a small swayback adjustment of about 10mm at the centre back, and cut the longest length, and that’s it for pattern adjustments. During pocket construction I sewed a line about 1/4 of the pocket width in in the vertical plane to prevent items ending up at my crotch as the pocket bags are huge, extending across the whole front from side seams to fly. No other tweaks (who am I?!). The fit is bang on - snug in the right places, the curved waistband is terrific - I'd just add some length if you are tall (I am 178cm for reference).
I think it’s a beautifully drafted pattern and I can’t believe it’s free. There are a couple of errors in the instructions - the fly shield and fly piece are mislabeled in terms of how many pieces to cut, which meant I ended up installing my fly reversed (I think) but I prefer it opening this way (like jeans). A couple of overlocking/neatening steps are missed in the written instructions but the diagrams show it, so I took care to follow both written and diagrams together. Some of the instructions are a bit brief in achieving a really nice finish, but if this isn’t your first trouser rodeo you’ll be fine (you could always look at other tutorials, say for nice waistband finishes etc). I did deviate from the order of construction, leaving the side seams last so I could play with fit.
I’ve read a few reviews that comment the fly instructions aren’t great. It’s really been years since I’ve made a fly zip, so consider myself a beginner all over again for a fly zip, and I found these instructions to be fine. I had really no dramas in getting a lovely fly straight up. Not a single stitch unpicked!
My fabric is a decent quality non-stretch heavy indigo denim from Spotlight. The pockets are cotton scraps from stash and I used the same fabric to make some bias to keep the hem length (the cropped length looked silly on me). I chose to make the inner waistband in the same denim too, which caused a little angst with bulk in turning nice corners and sewing the buttonhole. Probably should have used something lighter but it’s not too dreadful. In case my fly was terrible I went with navy top stitching, which kept things subtle/disguised.
I did consider adding rear pockets, both to break up a big expanse of backside and as I tend to stuff a lot of things into my back right jeans pockets whilst my giant babe is on my left hip, but my advice crew told me they looked fine without. And test driving these has proven those front pockets are ample for hankies, keys, small matchbox Kombis, baby intercoms and other necessities.
I’m so pleased with the fit, and I would be happy to devote a day of alteration to them in the future should I drop more weight - unpicking the waistband, taking in some darts and side seams wouldn’t be too much work. These took about 3 weeks, from toile to finished project, and probably would have taken 2 if winter sickness did not, yet again, visit our little household. I’ll absolutely be using this pattern again come summer for some shorts. But I think I’ll move the zip to the side seam - a fly does add bulk over the abdomen, and I love the look of a smooth flat(tish) front. And I’ve now got the confidence to tackle those cool girl Persephones for summer - some nice heavy linen-cotton in my stash has a tentative reservation on it.
Being a new silhouette for me on the bottom half necessitated much Pinteresting on how to style wide leg pants/jeans, particularly in winter. Obviously one needs balance, and, for someone ample of hips and bum, waist definition. I have a couple of cropped jumpers/sweaters in my wardrobe but nothing that was just the right length. So what’s a girl to do but find a solution. A cropped, fitted sweater/jumper was in order.
I considered the Seamwork Astoria (I do have the pattern) but on close inspection of many many versions, plus the shape of the armscye and sleeve pattern pieces, I decided that it would be too wide across the shoulders for me. It kind of looks halfway between a set in sleeve and a dropped shoulder. I’ve got narrow shoulders compared to the rest of my body. I really should do more narrow shoulder adjustments. Anyway. I digress. I turned to my copy of Gertie Sews Vintage Casual and came across the Pinup Sweater pattern. It was perfect as it had a cropped variation, so Gertie had done all the work for me. I made a size 8 in the shoulder, grading up to a 10 in the bust and waist, with my standard 1.5cm forward shoulder adjustment.
The fabric is a navy and white striped cotton sweater knit harvested from an old Ben Sherman jumper of my husband’s that had a mark on the front and didn’t fit him anymore. I am a very bad blogger/refashioner as I failed to take the prerequisite Before shot (see above first paragraph for reasons similar to slow weight loss). You’ll have to believe me when I tell you it had a navy banded neckline, cuffs and hems with navy patches on the elbows. I would have loved to reuse all of these, plus the elbow patches, but the position wasn’t right, and the neckband was weirdly applied and not salvageable. The cuffs and waistband have gone into my ribbing stash for the boy, and I used some beautiful quality cotton Lycra ribbing from Wattle Hill Fabrics. We are so lucky in Australia to have multiple suppliers of excellent quality ribbing. In addition to Wattle Hill I highly recommend Maai Designs, Seamstress Fabrics and Crafty Mamas Fabrics for an enormous range of ribbing in colours, sparkles, rainbow or stripes. This ribbing behaved like a dream and I feel my neckband is definitely one of the best I’ve ever done.
I just love this little top - I think the fit is great. I know it’s pretty busty but it won’t be forever. I think it looks perfect with these pants and the whole outfit makes me feel like a million bucks. Which as we all know isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve in the early years of being a mama. I can’t wait to wear this outfit into spring, then start styling these fab trousers with some short sleeve tops as the weather warms up!